Which is the Best Cruise Port in Jamaica?

 Which is the best Cruise ship port in Jamaica?

ANSWER is OCHO RIOS see below why:

Working in the cruise ship industry for over twenty-five years. I have seen a lot of cruise ship ports change and grow over the years.  One of them is Jamaica. Originally just Ocho Rios and Montego Bay cruise ports. But then over the last few years.  One more port was developed to attract the cruise ships Falmouth.  Two other ports are Port Antonio and Kingston (Port Royal).  Smaller cruise ships are able to dock there.  So for the purpose of this article let’s just look at the three main ones:

View of the Cruise Ship Dock – Jamaica.
  1. Ocho Rios has the most cruise ship visits per year making Ochi the most visited cruise port in Jamaica.  For years cruise ships have been bringing guests to enjoy all this amazing port has to offer.  See below for top tours, and things to do.
  2. Falmouth is the newest port to the party.  A new $180 million port was built to accommodate the newest and largest cruise ships.  Including Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships such as Wonder of the Seas. The port opened in early 2011.
  3. Montego Bay is a popular tourist destination featuring duty-free shopping.  A cruise line terminal and several beaches and resorts. The city is served by the Donal Sangster International Airport.  This is why some cruise lines such as Marella make Montego Bay their embarkation port.  With UK guests enjoying direct flights.

Ocho Rios

The original and the best.  Closest to all the top attractions and the best tax & duty-free shopping.  A rambling resort on Jamaica’s north coast.  Ocho Rios has long been one of the island’s most popular vacation spots. The town has a coast that is lined with pristine white beaches and lush green hills.  Making Ocho Rios the best port in Jamaica.

Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Dock.
  1. Dunn’s River Falls.  10 mins taxi ride away.   The cool mountain waters plunge 600 feet to smooth limestone beds.  Then stream under the roadway before mingling with the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Whether you climb the Falls or swim in the chilly eddies on the ocean side.  You’re sure to remember this place.
  2. The Fort was built in 1777 to defend the town against seafaring invaders. Small cannons that were once part of the fort’s defences still remain.
  3. The Blue Hole is 2 hours in a taxi ride away.  Freshwater lagoons, and gorgeous views.  Optional diving jumps on the way down as you walk through a Jamaican jungle.  The river is refreshing, and the views are once in a lifetime.  It is an experience you won’t forget.
    Beautiful Blue Hole Freshwater Lagoons.
  4. Fern Gully is a lush spot located a couple of miles south of town. The road follows a dry river bed that was planted with ferns in the late 19th century. The gully is a protected preserve.  Photographs are permitted, but touching or harming the ferns is prohibited. Jamaica boasts more varieties of ferns than any other location in the world.  More than 550 native species.

There are a number of fabulous shopping plazas in Ocho Rios. The best for great duty-free buys are the Island Village Shopping Center with the famous Maragittaville and Harbour Shops. Shoppers can select from brand-name jewellery and fine watches to scented candles and hand-rolled cigars. Famous Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is also a must while in Ocho Rios.  Click here for the Ocho Rios Map.


NAME OF DOCK: The ship will usually dock at the Ocho Rios Turtle Bay Cruise Pier.  Some ships may be assigned the Reynolds Pier.  Depending on the number of other ships in port. Note that the Reynolds Pier is also known locally as the James Bond Pier.

DISTANCE TO TOWN: The Ocho Rios town centre is within walking distance of the Island Village download the free Ocho Rios map here.

TAXI AVAILABILITY: Taxis are available outside the cruise pier. 

LOCAL TRANSPORTATION: There is no reliable bus system in Ocho Rios.  Taxis are the most popular means of transportation for tourists in Jamaica.

CURRENCY: Jamaican Dollar (JMD). US Dollars are widely accepted

LANGUAGE: English and Patois


Falmouth Cruise Ship Dock.


Located on Jamaica’s north coast, famous for having the Caribbean’s best-preserved Georgian towns.  It was named after the town of the same name in Cornwall which is also a cruise ship dock in the UK.  A new $180 million port was built to accommodate the newest and largest cruise ships.  Including Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships such as Wonder of the Seas. The port opened in early 2011. The old docking area was officially renamed Historic Falmouth Cruise Port and is now a large retail shopping complex. Just walk off the ship and the port has a triangular shape with two piers at an angle.  The exit for both at one end and the exit to the town at the southern side.


You can access the major tourist attractions from this dock such as Dunn’s River Falls etc.  But close to the port, you have the following:

  1. Red Stripe Beach
  2. Reggae Walk of Fame & Museum
  3. Water Square
    White Sand Beaches in Jamaica

The area between the piers has a very nice ambience with large squares, shaded arcades, and shops.  A few places to enjoy a quick bite and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville with its typical bar, restaurant, pool, and shop. All these are housed in brick buildings designed in British Georgian architecture.  A very Colonial ambience is found in the Town just outside the gates.

One of the best characteristics of the Historic Falmouth Cruise Port is the convenience and offer of a good number of services to help the traveller explore the Town and all the top attractions close by.  Download your Falmouth Port map here.

NAME OF DOCK:  Ships usually dock in Falmouth but if they are busy then sometimes tender either East or West Terminal.   

TAXI AVAILABILITY:  with Fixed Rates, The Taxi Fares are per car (1 to 4 pax) with an extra for each additional passenger.  No need to negotiate prices.  The drivers are authorized and certified taxi drivers.  The Fares are Fixed and clearly displayed.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT:  Bus Service to Montego Bay with stops next to the Craft Market, the Beach, the Hip Strip and Rose Hall (shops). The bus fare is per person – $20 Round Trip.

Montego Bay

Montego bay is affectionately nicknamed “MoBay”.  The Jamaican dialect called ‘Patois’ has some interesting words and phrases.  So don’t panic if someone wishes you a ‘Bashy’ day as it means excellent.  Montego Bay is divided into three parts. There is the city itself with its crowded streets. The “hotel area” is the mile-and-a-half strip running from the town.  Past the celebrated Doctor’s Cave Beach and out to the Dead End Bar. Thirdly, there are outlying hotels and villas on the beach or hillside.  

Sam Sharpe Square, a pleasant cobble-stoned hub of activity, is roughly the centre of the town where stands the Cage, formerly a jail for runaway slaves and the ruins of the Courthouse, built in 1804 and destroyed by fire some 20 years ago.  

Tour the great houses of Jamaica. Including the magnificently restored 1760 Rose Hall Great House.  It is still haunted by the ghost of Annie Palmer, “The White Witch”.  Click here about the story of Annie Palmer White Witch of Rose Hall – Wikipedia

  1. Rose Hall Great House
  2. Aquasol Beach Park
  3. Doctor Cave Beach

There are a few shops at the ship’s pier but I recommend travelling to Shoppes at Rose Hall Click here for your shopping map.  Shoppes at Rose Hall is a luxurious blend of speciality retail stores featuring international jewellers, lifestyle brands, speciality souvenirs and food.  Marella Cruises sail out of Montego Bay, Jamaica you can get direct flights from the UK.  Check out their website with cruises sailing out of Montego Bay, Jamaica Marella Cruises | Cruise Holidays 2023 / 2024 | TUI.co.uk.  It was very quiet that day I visited which actually was a nice change to the hustle and bustle of the port area.  You can request a pick up click this link to arrange Contact Us +1 (876) 953-3245 – The Shoppes at Rose Hall

NAME OF DOCK:  Montego Bay Cruise Terminal.  The town is approx. 5 – 10 mins walk from the port.  Shoppes at Rose Hall you need a taxi or contact them to arrange the shuttle bus.

TAXIS: Available outside the cruise terminal. 

PUBLIC TRANSPORT:  There is a bus service ask for the up-to-date timetable from the Tourist Information in the terminal.

First cruise onboard Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages – August 2021.

Hi, I am Melissa,

I have been recommending stuff to do in port, giving advice and tips for over 25 years.  Here is a bit about me About Us – Cruise, Shop, Save and how to collaborate. (cruiseshopsave.com)

If you are planning on cruising to Jamaica, drop me an email at Melissa@CruiseShopSave.com or join the Facebook Group Cruise Shop Save – Facebook Group. | Facebook.